For the fifth time in six tries since the advent of the original Dream Team, the U.S. took home Olympic gold in men’s basketball this year. But how different would those rosters have looked if Team USA had stuck with its old policy of bringing only college players to compete on the Olympic stage?
From Christian Laettner in 1992 to Anthony Davis this summer, the few token collegians who’ve cracked the real-life Olympic rosters would have become leaders of much younger—but still talent-rich—American squads. After all, while there’s no replacing the likes of Kevin Durant and LeBron James, a 2012 team with Thomas Robinson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist joining Davis would’ve been a dangerous group in its own right.
Read on for a look at the hypothetical Team USA rosters for each of the last six Olympiads, using only players who would’ve been eligible under pre-Dream Team rules.